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'There are groups mobilizing everywhere': Here's how you can help get protective gear to healthcare workers

There are a number of resources in the St. Louis area for people looking to donate or make supplies to support medical professionals

ST. LOUIS — While she said she doesn't consider herself to be master seamstress, Beth McClure can sew. So, when she heard her nurse friend's cry for help, she knew she could do something. 

"She was saying, you know, 'We're in need, supplies are short. If you can sew, consider making masks,'" McClure said. "It's been a while, but I can sew."

McClure said she pulled out her sewing machine and extra fabric she had and got to work on her first mask Saturday night.

"The process is pretty easy," McClure said. 

McClure said there are a number of resources in the St. Louis area for people looking to donate or make supplies to support medical professionals. 

Adelaide Lancaster, a medical spouse who's husband is a surgeon, said she and a group of other medical spouses recently started brainstorming and working to figure out the best way to get supplies to healthcare workers as they begin to run low. 

Lancaster said the effort is on two fronts, each with a Facebook group that's growing by the day. 

One part of the effort, Lancaster said, is to gather PPE, or personal protective equipment like gloves, masks, respirators and gowns from individuals and businesses and get them to the healthcare professionals who need them. 

Organizers of the Facebook group PPE for STL posted drop-off locations for anyone who is able to provide the supplies. Lancaster said a local school district has pledged all of its safety goggles and gloves and that hundreds of masks have been donated.

"We have people who are dedicated to calling and reaching out to the manufacturers in our area," Lancaster said. "A lot of people have things like masks at their homes, in their garage."

The other half of the effort is for people, like McClure, to make masks. The group, Greater St. Louis Million Mask Drive, walks volunteers through the process of making masks that can be used by healthcare workers. Lancaster said her husband and another volunteer created this set of instructions to make the masks with the explanation for how the mask should be used. 

"These groups will connect them to the hospitals and to the healthcare workers who need them," McClure said.

Missouri Department of Economic Development asks for medical masks and gowns

The Missouri Department of Economic Development is urgently searching for companies that can quickly produce two items: N95 medical masks and basic medical gowns in large and extra-large.

If your company can help, you are asked to email Michelle Hataway at Michelle.Hataway@ded.mo.gov and answer the following questions:

  • Which item can your produce? Mask? Gown? Both?
  • When can you start production?
  • Potential daily output?
  • Do you already have the supply chain established for these products? If not, what would you need to acquire?
  • Are there other production factors that need to be resolved before you could make these products? Can you provide a basic cost estimate? Utilize whatever per quantity or per unit pricing is most relevant for you.
  • Are there other items that need to be addressed?
  • Are you willing but need much more information before you can respond?

For more information, click here.

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